GOODBYE HONG KONG, HELLO SINGAPORE!
Another early start for us today - we had to be at the airport at least 90 minutes before our flight, which was due to leave at 10.55, but those who know me, will know I like to be where I'm going in plenty of time. I woke at 5.35, well before my alarm, so we were ready to leave by 7 am, having had breakfast. However, the bus didn't leave until 7.45 so we sat and chatted with Sandy and Martin, and of course, thanked them again for being so kind to us during our stay. I think it's fair to say their house will be much quieter now we/I am gone!
I had to put a photograph in of the first sunrise I had seen from Sandy and Martin's apartment, which was beautiful and seemed to happen very quickly, unlike the ones we see in the UK.
Sandy very kindly came to the airport with us and got us to the right check-in desk - my silly sense of humour came to the fore when I saw the sign that said "Check-in Aisles" - well it's not that often one gets a mention on a large airport sign, even if they did spell our name incorrectly!
After big hugs all round before Sandy headed off and we went to check in our bags. We had 30kg from London to Vietnam and then to Hong Kong, but only 20kg from HK to Singapore, but there was no need to worry - in fact, only afterwards did Mr. HCB tell me I had covered up the relevant details on the desktop with all the paperwork so he wasn't quite sure how much our bags weighed! There was I worrying about a few kg when many people around us had mostly "carry-on" cases which were far bigger than our hand luggage. Not sure we would have got away with a carry-on case for a month's holiday though!
We had plenty of time once we had checked in, but as our gate was 229 and there appear to be more than 500 gates, thoughts we should make our way through to departure. I have to say (and do not mean any offence to the authorities in Vietnam) that check-in and security checks were much quicker and much better organised. When I realised that the lady at the check-in desk had given me Mr. HCB's passport, but my boarding pass, and apologised profusely, the man checking them even smiled. :-)
We went up and down on numerous elevators and in several lifts, then on two trains to get to our gate, but having been told to watch carefully, Mr. HCB checked every half hour to make sure that the gate number hadn't changed.
Mr. HCB got himself a good seat, then I went off in search of a cup of coffee - knowing that the coffee on our previous flights had been horrible - and came back with two cafe lattes and two cinnamon Danish pastries. The coffee was good, but we shall be glad to get back to our cinnamon Danish pastries at Jack's as the ones here are quite stodgy, rather than light and flaky.
I wondered what I would do today for my Blip - we are both feeling rather tired, and have done a great deal of walking and sight-seeing since we left the UK on 21st February, so we have decided to make time to rest when we arrive at our hotel later.
I spotted the little boy with a "Thomas the Tank Engine" backpack and as I have been thinking a lot about a special friend of mine, for whom Thomas has a significant meaning, I asked his parents if I could take a photograph and they kindly agreed - so this is for my friend, H. The lady said they came from Tokyo, but were living in HK and were going back to Japan for a holiday.
Once on the plane, it was obvious that Scoot in Asia is the budget equivalent of EasyJet, with no meals or free drinks provided, but that said, our meal of chicken and rice, which we had pre-ordered, was piping hot and very tasty.
It was good to be welcomed to Singapore and not only by a very large sign. As we came out of the arrivals hall, I was looking for someone holding up our name - it didn't take long before we spotted a man holding up a mobile phone with our name written on it - I told Mr. HCB that I had spotted our driver, but that he was on his phone. As we approached him and I said "I think you're our driver", the man took the phone away from his face, and we could see it was our friend, Alfred! What a lovely surprise! Not long after, his wife Jenny arrived and there were more big hugs before we left to go to our hotel, with Alfred and Jenny following.
We befriended Alfred and Jenny when they were in the UK about 26 years ago, after they came to our Church, and in fact, stayed with them in Singapore to celebrate our Silver Wedding Anniversary. The day before we left in 1993, Jenny, who was pregnant when they left the UK to come back to Singapore, gave birth to a daughter, Hannah, and although we have seen them twice in the intervening years, it was only for a very short time, so it will be good to catch up with them and their family again.
They have planned a meal for us on Thursday evening at a nearby hotel and then a meal at their house on Saturday evening - so it will be exciting to meet up with them and their extended family.
The large skyscrapers can be seen from our hotel, and in the bottom left photograph you can see our hotel behind the Thai Embassy, which is quite a low building compared to all those around it. There was no time to rest at our hotel though, because Jenny and Alfred wanted to come and see our room and after they went, we decided to go for a wander. It is so hot and humid that I think even Mr. HCB found it a blessing to go into the various shopping malls as they are all air-conditioned!
We weren't out for long though and decided to come back to the hotel for a meal, which was very nice and we are now relaxing in our room. There will be NO alarm on tomorrow morning and we have put the "Do not Disturb" sign on the door - but knowing us, we will still be awake early!
Thank you again, for being patient with me for not commenting on your journals, and for all your kind comments, stars and hearts, which are much appreciated. We know it will be much hotter in Singapore, so there may not be as many photographs - but then again.........you never know! M xx